A-Hunting We Will Go

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For the Goodies episode, see Hunting Pink.
A variant of the melody

A-Hunting We Will Go is a British song written by Thomas Arne. It was written by Arne for the 1777 production of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera at Covent Garden in London.[1] It was originally performed by Margaret Kennedy who was playing the role of MacHeath in the production. It later became a popular folk song and nursery rhyme.

The a- is an archaic intensifying prefix; compare Here We Come A-wassailing/Here We Come A-caroling and lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas (e.g., “Six geese a-laying”).


A-hunting we will go, a-hunting we will go
(Heigh-ho, the derry-o, a-hunting we will go
A-hunting we will go, a-hunting we will go)
We'll catch a fox and put him in a box
And then we'll let him go

Each consequent verse gets modified by putting in a different animal:

  • “...a fish and put him on a dish...”
  • “...a bear and cut his hair...”
  • “...a pig and dance a little jig...”
  • “...a giraffe and make him laugh...”
  • “...a mouse and put him in a cage...”
  • ...

See also[edit]


Boucé, Paul-Gabriel. Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Manchester University Press, 1982.


  1. ^ Boucé page 250